Brexit News for Monday 17 July

Brexit News for Monday 17 July
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David Davis urges both sides to “get down to business” as Brexit talks resume…

Brexit Secretary David Davis has called on both sides in the negotiations on the UK’s departure from the European Union to “get down to business”. Mr Davis is in Brussels for a second round of formal talks on Brexit… Mr Davis said: “We made a good start last month, and this week we’ll be getting into the real substance.””Protecting the rights of all our citizens is the priority for me going into this round and I’m clear that it’s something we must make real progress on.” – BBC News

  • UK seeks progress on citizens’ rights as Brexit talks resume – Bloomberg

…with EU negotiators set to demand power to impose huge fines on Britain for years after Brexit…

The European Commission believes the European Court of Justice (ECJ) should have the power to rule on British infringements of EU laws that occurred at any time before the March 2019 withdrawal date, and to levy financial penalties… Bart Van Vooren, an associate lawyer in the Brussels office of global law firm Covington and Burling, said: “The way that infringement proceedings are brought is very much under the discretion of the Commission… and they are extremely politicised. They are political choices.” Mr Van Vooren said there would be huge fallout in bringing a case after Brexit. “But never say never,” he added… Mr Van Vooren said the EU would compromise on its current stance. “This is a maximalist position,” he said, “When you ask for a salary increase, you don’t begin by asking for just 100 euros more – you go bigger than that.” – Telegraph (£)

  • EU clarifies stance on Britain’s exit tab – David M. Herszenhorn for Politico
  • The UK needs to overhaul its tactics if it wants to negotiate Brexit successfully – Tim Cullen for the Telegraph (£)

…while Brussels is set to break its vow not to talk trade at this stage of the Brexit talks

Barnier plans to raise the thorny issue of EU import quotas on the sidelines of this week’s negotiations, according to half a dozen officials briefed on the talks. Although not the broader trade discussion on a future relationship that the U.K. has pushed for, talks on quotas would move negotiations past the immediate practicalities of Britain’s exit from the bloc and start to imagine global trade post-Brexit. – Politico

Philip Hammond is deliberately trying to ‘frustrate’ Brexit, according to one anonymous Cabinet colleague…

Philip Hammond is deliberately working to “frustrate” Brexit and treating pro-Leave ministers like “pirates who have taken him prisoner”, a Cabinet minister has told The Telegraph, in an extraordinary attack on one of the most senior members of the Government… A senior Cabinet minister told The Telegraph: “What’s really going on is that the Establishment, the Treasury, is trying to **** it up. They want to frustrate Brexit.” …Mr Hammond views Brexit-supporters as “a bunch of smarmy pirates” who have “taken the Establishment prisoner”, the source said, adding that Mr Hammond is now “trying to break out” and get his own way. – Telegraph (£)

  • Ministers divided as Brussels talks restart – The Times (£)
  • Philip Hammond suggests Brexiteers are briefing against him – Sky News
  • Philip Hammond hits back at cabinet leaks from rivals – The Times (£)
  • Hammond blames Brexiteers for briefing by Remainers – Guido Fawkes
  • Theresa May gains backbench Conservative support to sack feuding ministers – FT (£)
  • Government in danger of collapsing in chaos if infighting does not stop, Lord Lamont warns – Telegraph (£)
  • The only winner from the Cabinet briefing war is Jeremy Corbyn – Katy Balls for the Spectator
  • This indulgent Tory infighting risks turning Brexit into a national disaster – Juliet Samuel for the Telegraph (£)
  • Instead of attacking each other, Tory MPs should be focusing on delivering Brexit and keeping Corbyn out – The Sun says

…but Hammond rules out single market membership in any temporary Brexit deal…

Philip Hammond has ruled out Britain remaining within the EU’s single market as part of a transitional Brexit arrangement – as Labour left the option open. The Chancellor insisted the UK will be quitting the single market – and thereby ending free movement migration rules – at the same time as the country leaves the EU in March 2019… Despite tensions at the top of Government, Mr Hammond claimed the “great majority” of his Cabinet colleagues now agree with his view a transitional arrangement with the EU is “the right and sensible way to go both in the UK and the EU”. – Sky News

  • Liam Fox calls for political unity to foil ‘French hopes of using Brexit to wreck Britain’ – Express
  • Fox on a Brexit transition – “As long as we leave in 2019, I’m happy” (video) – ConservativeHome

> WATCH via BrexitCentral: Liam Fox discusses transitional arrangements and post-Brexit trade on the Sunday Politics

…as a key Jeremy Corbyn ally now claims the UK could remain in the single market post-Brexit

Labour’s Brexit policy was mired in confusion yesterday after a key ally of Jeremy Corbyn said the UK could remain in the single market after Brexit. Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, said it would be “fantastic” if a deal could be negotiated to allow the UK to stay in the single market and customs union. However, John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has previously admitted that staying in the single market would be seen by voters as “not respecting” the result of the EU referendum… Steve Baker, Brexit Minister, said the comments were further evidence that Labour MPs “do not accept the result of the referendum”. He said: “This is a shambles, with members of Corbyn’s inner circle refusing to agree on anything. Labour, and Jeremy Corbyn, could not negotiate a Brexit deal to save themselves, given they cannot agree on a policy position.” – Telegraph (£)

  • Corbyn ally steals ‘have cake and eat it’ line on Brexit – Independent
  • Jeremy Corbyn should be involved in the Brexit talks, says Guy Verhofstadt – Independent

> WATCH via BrexitCentral: Rebecca Long-Bailey: Labour wants to “have our cake and eat it” on Brexit

‘Patronising’ Tony Blair slammed for saying Brexit voters in the North didn’t understand the issues

The former Labour PM said Leave voters in the North were wrong to vote Brexit because it will make them poorer and claimed they lacked the right information during the referendum campaign last year… Former Tory leader and Brexit campaigner Iain Duncan Smith told The Sun: “Project Fear has now become Project Smear. “The people of Barnsley and Boston and everywhere else knew very well what they were voting for – take back control – and the problem for Blair is he just doesn’t like it.” …Brexit minister Steve Baker told Mr Blair to listen to his own party. He said: “The majority of British people voted to leave the EU. The majority of MPs, including Blair’s own Labour Party, voted to trigger Article 50. By calling for the decisions of the voters and Parliament to be overturned, Tony Blair is demonstrating once again that he is out of touch.” – The Sun

  • Poll commissioned by Tony Blair shows Britons backing Brexit and lower immigration – Mail
  • Tony Blair and George Osborne can shut up about Brexit… their policies are why so many people voted Leave – Trevor Kavanagh for The Sun

> WATCH via BrexitCentral: Blair says Brexit must “not happen”

Vince Cable disowns Liberal Democrat pledge to make ‘hell for May over Brexit process’

Incoming  Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has disowned his party’s pledge to make “hell” for Theresa May over the Brexit process… Outgoing Lib Dem leader Tim Farron had warned Mrs May that she would face hell trying to get the Repeal Bill, which will copy all EU rules on to the British statute book, through parliament. However, Mr Cable said: “Our current party leader said he was going to make hell. My approach is more constructive opposition. I don’t think being negative just for the sake of being negative is the right approach. We have got to treat it seriously.” – Express

Lord Wolfson calls on Government to embrace clear vision of outward-looking Brexit

Next boss and prominent Leave campaigner Lord Simon Wolfson… told the Press Association that he had no regrets over his support for Brexit, but said it was important not to isolate Britain in the process. “The truth is that all of us who voted for Brexit knew this at the time: Brexit in and of itself does not guarantee failure or success. It is the type of Brexit that we make that will determine how successful we are, and as of yet we don’t know really what direction the Government’s going,” Lord Wolfson said. We desperately need a clear vision, and what I hope is that vision is one of an open, outward looking, tolerant, liberal, Brexit that recognises that we need to control immigration, but also recognises the enormous value that hard working, tax-paying people make to our economy when they come to our country.” – Independent

Migration Watch report says net migration figures will stay above 100,000 for a decade if Britain stays in EEA

Net immigration would continue to exceed 100,000 a year for at least a decade if Britain goes for a “soft” Brexit, a report warns today. Two reports released by the Migration Watch think tank said a “soft” Brexit being pushed by Remainers would mean the UK remaining in the single market via the European Economic Area. However this would require Britain to keep open its borders to EU nationals. Migration Watch warns that this would be a “disastrous halfway house” because while Britain would be forced to comply with freedom of movement rules, we would have no power to influence them. The UK would join Norway as a “fax democracy”. – The Sun

  • A soft Brexit would mean mass immigration – of over 100,000 people a year net until the late 2030s – Lord Green of Deddington for ConservativeHome
  • A halfway-house Brexit would let EU immigration continue unchecked – Alanna Thomas for The Times (£)
  • Vow to cut immigration will not be forgotten – Clare Foges for The Times (£)

> Lord Green on BrexitCentral: A temporary Norway-style Brexit risks permanent loss of control of our borders

Nicola Sturgeon challenged to stop posturing over key Brexit legislation

Scotland Office minister Ian Duncan said Nationalist threats to derail the so-called “Repeal Bill” would cause “absolute fear and concern” for businesses. It came after the First Minister last week joined forces with Welsh counterpart Carwyn Jones in warning devolved legislatures would withhold necessary consent unless significant changes are made… The Scottish Parliament cannot veto the legislation but any move to ignore a vote could spark a constitutional crisis… Warning against “a period of brinkmanship” [Duncan] told BBC’s Sunday Politics Scotland programme: “The First Minister will have to explain to them exactly what’s she’s going to do instead of that. It’s not good enough simply to posture.” – Express

  • Repeal bill has “caused a constitutional crisis”, claims Scotland’s Brexit minister – Telegraph

Gibraltar chief minister Fabian Picardo says residents will not become victims of Brexit and rock will remain British

The chief minister pledged to make sure Gibraltar was included in Brexit talks with the EU as he branded himself the “backbone of this negotiation for Gibraltar”… Asked if he was worried the British Government could “effectively sell you down the river” in pursuit of a better Brexit trade agreement, Mr Picardo told the Sky News programme: “We’ve seen it before. We saw it in 1987 in relation to the exclusion of Gibraltar’s airport from the Open Skies agreements that were done in those days, air liberalisation as it was known. But I’ve had cast-iron assurances from David Davis, the secretary of state, I’ve no reason to doubt, he told me about not doing a trade deal if it didn’t include Gibraltar – if it was relevant to Gibraltar – will be the case going forward.” – The Sun

> WATCH via BrexitCentral: Fabian Picardo tells Sophy Ridge that David Davis has assured him Gibraltar will be included in the Brexit trade deal

John Redwood: In the EU we did not have any Parliamentary control over new EU laws

What a nonsense this row is about so called Henry VIII clauses. All our current EU laws either were imposed direct with no reference at all to Parliament, or had to be voted through as Statutory Instruments in order to comply. Thousands of EU laws became our laws with no opportunity for Parliament to debate and vote on them as draft Acts of Parliament… Because the draft Act says Ministers for a 2 year period may make technical adjustments so these laws still work in the way intended once they are UK law by passing a Statutory Instrument, Labour is wrongly saying this is not democratic… It is embarrassing to hear and see so much airtime given over to this non story. Why did we never hear about the complete absence of democracy for all those laws the EU imposed on us? – John Redwood’s Diary

Tom Tugendhat: The UK must not step away from the world stage because of Brexit

After 40 years of relative stability within the EU, Britons voted for a different course. That offers opportunity but we should not be blind to the challenges. At a time of heightened instability, the UK must endeavour to play a role that will strengthen our reputation. That demands new ideas, a collective effort and great reserves of political will. Above all, we must be bold, open and honest. – New Foreign Affairs Select Committee Chair Tom Tugendhat MP for the FT (£)

Telegraph: Tony Blair is peddling a fantasy of the EU

Which “European leaders” told Tony Blair they might compromise on immigration to keep Britain in the EU – and where have they been for the past decade? Mr Blair claims that Brussels is suddenly keen on reform and “willing to consider changes to accommodate Britain, including around freedom of movement.” But Mr Blair’s description of a dynamic, innovative EU does not reflect the EU as we all know it. It does, however, reflect Mr Blair’s gift for spin… Europe’s leaders have now had a year to charm and bribe Britain. Instead, the country has been insulted. – Telegraph editorial (£)

Express: France’s plan to destroy the British Economy will not succeed

So the truth is out: despite all that glad-handing between our Prime Minister and President Emmanuel Macron of France, behind the scenes the French government is plotting to sabotage the British economy. A leaked memo reveals that they will try to “actively disrupt and destroy” the City of London. Even if France ends up with no benefits whatsoever, they are still determined to wreak as much havoc as they can. That this is mean-minded, vindictive, vengeful and nasty hardly needs saying. But the point should be made here: it won’t work. The City of London has been established as a global financial centre for at least 200 years, Paris has not. – Express editorial

Brexit comment in brief

  • There’s no need to admire Germany’s trade surplus – Ben Chu for the Independent
  • Europe still hasn’t conquered its demons – Robert Colvile for CapX
  • From tapas to banking to cyber security: Nurturing Britain’s unique relationship with Spain – Andrew Parmley for City A.M.
  • UK should relish prospect of Europe raising its game on tech – Gerard Grech for the Telegraph (£)
  • Our citizens are going digital and global. If the state doesn’t keep up it will become obsolete – Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia, for the Telegraph (£)
  • A trade deal between the UK and the Gulf states is an enticing prospect – Robert John Tasker for the Khaleej Times
  • Three steps the EU can take to show global leadership – Wolfgang Munchau for the FT (£)
  • Dishonest Remainers struggle with Brexit successes – John Redwood MP for The Commentator

Brexit news in brief

  • UK housing market shrugs off concerns of Brexit slowdown – Guardian
  • Italy considering waving 200,000 migrants into EU with full work and benefits rights for two years in bid to cope with huge influx of asylum seekers crossing the Mediterranean – Mail
  • Academics with claim of UK ‘sleepwalking’ into food insecurity after Brexit – Guardian
  • Trade deal ‘essential’ to protect UK car industry, says trade lawyer – Telegraph
  • Only a third of British businesses have made Brexit plans according to survey – Telegraph
  • Bring back death penalty and the EU door will slam shut, Juncker warns Turkey – The Times (£)